‘Left prefer Prez candidate through consensus’



Bangalore: Left parties prefer a Presidential candidate with "wider acceptance" decided through a consensus, CPI Secretary D Raja said on Sunday.

"It's good if a candidate emerges on the basis of consensus, the Rajya Sabha member told reporters here.

"We (Left parties) are of the view that the candidate must have wider acceptance," Raja said, adding, CPI's own view is that the candidate would be a "political person".

But he hastened to add that "nobody can be considered non-political or apolitical" in India.

Raja said the Left parties have decided to undertake a country-wide campaign demanding enactment of Right to Food bill as he stressed the need for strengthening, streamlining and universalisation of the public distribution system.

Details of the campaign, which is slated to culminate at the beginning of monsoon session of Parliament, would be finalised at a meeting of Left parties in the third week of this month.

Asked about the perception about performance of the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal which is close to completing one year in office, Raja said she needs to concentrate on governance and deliver on her promises.

He pointed out that some of her statements and measures, such as on freedom of speech and in rape cases, have been criticised by not only the Left but also by all sections, including intellectuals.

On Mamata Banerjee seeking special package for West Bengal, Raja said states such as Bihar and Tamil Nadu have also made similar demands and it's actually an issue pertaining to Centre-State relations.

Raja saw justification in states seeking larger share of the total tax collected by the Centre, adding, "Centre will have to be more accommodative to the demands of the states".

He said the BJP government in Karnataka has failed to take adequate measures to provide relief to the people hit by the drought, while the Centre has also not extended enough financial assistance to the State.

Describing Karnataka government as "one of the worst, corrupt governments" in the country, he said "sooner the BJP government is removed, the better it is for the people".

PTI